Planning for climate adaptation in the Wet Tropics rainforests

MEDIA RELEASE – for immediate release
Planning for climate adaptation in the Wet Tropics rainforests Launch of the Wet Tropics Management Authority’s Climate Adaptation Plan 2020-2030

14 November 2019

The Wet Tropics Management Authority will today release an historic Climate Adaptation Plan for the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area.

The Wet Tropics Management Authority Board will be joined by representatives of the Yirrganydji and Gimuy Walubara Yidinji First Nations, to formally launch the Climate Adaptation Plan, at the Visitors Centre, Cairns Botanic Gardens from 9.30 am.

Facing increasing evidence of the impact of climate change on some of the world’s oldest living tropical rainforests the Plan sets out tangible steps to build the resilience of the Wet Tropics’ natural systems, cultures, communities and economies.

Chair of the Wet Tropics Management Authority, Ms. Leslie Shirreffs, said impacts on the iconic rainforests include increased risks from bush fires, more intensive cyclones and periods of unprecedented high temperatures. Some iconic mountain-top species, such as the lemuroid ring-tail possum, are in danger of localised extinction if temperature rises continue as projected.

“Our responsibility is to pass on this treasure to future generations and this Plan contains a series of actions which will allow innovative new management priorities in this time of a changing climate,” said Ms. Shirreffs. “The plan has been developed with input from the scientific community, Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, the tourism industry and other key collaborators.”

Recommended actions include land restoration to replace trees in damaged areas and to enhance wildlife corridors. Recent research, published in the journal, Science, found that tree-planting was the single most effective act to reduce high levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

Another key action in the plan is to increase the participation of those Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples who have lived in and managed the area for millennia. Their ancient ecological knowledge will be critical in meeting these unprecedented challenges.

More pests are another predicted consequence of climate change so it is also important that our management of pests improves. The Authority’s recent successes in reducing the distribution of yellow crazy ants within and adjacent to the World Heritage Area show that properly resourced, and well-designed strategies with community support, are highly effective.

“We need to increase the protective habitat elements (rocks, logs, hollows) and topographic features (southern slopes, fire-protected gullies, soaks) that provide shelter during climatic extremes. Technology and innovation may play a role in this,” said Leslie Shirreffs. “And as we implement these initiatives we need to better understand what is happening on the ground in these rainforest ecosystems and that means increased monitoring and research.

Ms. Shirreffs said that the Authority would be seeking broad community support and the additional funds necessary to implement the Plan’s actions.

The Climate Adaptation Plan for the Wet Tropics 2020-2030 can be viewed here


For further information, obtain a copy of the Plan, or to arrange an interview, contact:
Al Harris 0409658177

The Wet Tropics Management Authority
The Wet Tropics Management Authority’s role is to protect the outstanding universal value of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area in accordance with the World Heritage Convention and as required under relevant Commonwealth and State legislation. 

Planning for climate adaptation in the Wet Tropics rainforests

Published: 14th Nov 2019

Share Connect Protect